Carmelo Anthony has made a living out of one thing and one thing only: putting basketballs through hoops. No matter how divisive a player he has been in almost every other respect, his ability to score has never been in question, and on Friday, he hit an offensive milestone few players ever even sniff. In scoring his 26,498th NBA point, he passed Tim Duncan for 14th on the league's all-time scoring list.
The play came late in the fourth quarter of a blowout victory over the Golden State Warriors. Jusuf Nurkic hit him in the corner for a 3-pointer that might not have affected the long-decided outcome, but it did get him past Duncan in the record books.
"I'm just happy to continue to do what I love to do and be out here still doing it at this stage of my career, at this age, I'm still enjoying the game and having fun with the game, and I still love to play the game and I think it shows out there on the basketball court," Anthony said after the game. "But for me to surpass Tim Duncan, who we all know how great of a player he was and what he did for this game, I'm still going and I'm still enjoying it."
In all likelihood, Anthony will climb a few more spots this season. He is fewer than 200 points away from No. 13 Dominique Wilkins, fewer than 300 points away from No. 12 Oscar Robertson and fewer than 500 points away from No. 11 Hakeem Olajuwon. If he plays multiple seasons, he could theoretically climb as high as No. 8 Shaquille O'Neal, who scored 28,596 points in his career. After that, Wilt Chamberlain's 31,419 points at No. 7 are likely out of reach.
But even reaching No. 14 is a tremendous achievement. Duncan is a two-time MVP and a five-time champion. He's the sort of player anyone should want to chase in the record books. Now Anthony has passed him, and he'll only rise from here.